By Hannah Whitten
Narrated by Inés del Castillo
13 Hours 40 Minutes
Released June 2021
The Amazon blurb for this novel said it became a sensation via word-of-mouth and I’d certainly never heard of it until it was mentioned in one of my Facebook groups. I’ve been drawn to Fairy Tale retellings/reimaginings lately and just based on the cover, this one was obviously right up my alley.
Here’s the blurb: For centuries, the second daughter born to the Queen has been marked as a sacrifice to the Wilderwood in a bid to return the Five Kings who disappeared there eons ago. From birth, Red knew this was her destiny. On her twentieth birthday, she’s sent to the forest, prepared to meet the monster, the Wolf, who holds the kings hostage. Not only is it her duty, but Red wants to go. If only to keep her sister safe from the magic of the Wilderwood she harbors inside her; a magic she’s not supposed to possess.
It doesn’t take long for Red to realize that the Wolf isn’t a monster, he’s a man with unasked-for responsibility on his shoulders. And the Kings aren’t gods, they’re the monsters the Wolf is trying to contain. But with Red’s sister trying to destroy the Wilderwoods to bring her home, Red is torn, since the only way to work alongside the Wolf is to go against her sister. Something she’d sworn never to do.
Part Red Riding Hood, part Beauty and the Beast, and all fabulously imaginative. Lovers of earth magick – you must give this one a try if you haven’t already read it. The forest setting is lush and alive. Not always sympathetic but it is, most definitely, a character in its own right. Ammon’s (the Wolf’s) character got a little repetitive for me, with his repeated attempts to save Red and keep her away from the Wilderwood’s hold. Granted, he had good reason to. Red’s character arc was gradual and convincing; how her fidelity to her sister and understanding of the Wilderwood’s history morphed and matured, leading her to follow her own heart.
Lastly, the world building and myth weaving were so well done. It was striking, since it’s true, how myth and legend can morph into a religion, and how that religion can be warped to fit someone’s darker ends and quest for power.
My only not sterling comment was on the pacing. Granted, this is a two-book series but the majority of this book felt like the set up. It wasn’t until the 75 or 80% mark that the conflict got really, really serious. Then it was a fast rush downhill, with action that didn’t stop until almost the epilogue. That definitely made a great setup for the second book. However, I hope Neve also has a strong character arc in it because she wasn’t exactly my favorite character at the end of this book.
4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’ll definitely be making room in my audiobook list for For the Throne.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.